Back to Basics

For years now, I have advocated that a reduction of government is the only way to rebuild individual liberty. To many people that have opened their eyes to a vision of reality, this concept is apparent. I consistently come up with examples of how most responsibilities can be managed more efficiently and performed more effectively with less inhibition of individual liberties by the private sector. Am I advocating anarchy? Not really. I bring these examples with the intent to re-shape the thought processes of the people that nearly every duty that the people have ceded to government does not need to be ceded to government.

I accept the constitution as the foundational basis of the United States of America, and with that choice comes the requirement of the existence of government. Certainly the government of today is completely out of the control of the people, and therefore the situation of today would be a sharp slap in the face to the founding fathers. While I accept the fact that government is indeed a necessary evil, I firmly believe that it needs to be sharply reduced back to the vision of the founding fathers, and that the requirements of the bill of rights be included without fail in all actions of government. Clearly this is not the case today.

Article 1, Section 1 of the constitution requires that all laws must be made by congress. Today, regulations are made which have the force of law by officials that were never on a ballot. Many of these actions are enforced without due process, clearly violating the 14th amendment, and likely several others as well. Rights of individuals nationwide are stampeded by the actions of government regulators which create regulations which are absent of many constitutional protections.

The founding fathers of this great nation were cognizant of the results of a government with excessive powers over the people, and did their best to design a framework in which the people remain in control. Today, the behemoth that we call government seeks its own growth in size and scope, at the detriment of the people that are constitutionally required to be in control of it.

In my book, “Take Everyman Down”, I have identified a 12 step program to enslavement of the populace and the destruction of the American Dream. The common denominator in this book is two-fold. First, that government uses issues that strike the passions of the people to keep them subservient. Second, that they use these passions to sanction their own continued growth, and as previously mentioned, this growth is inversely proportional to individual liberty.

Also in this book, I used an example of how people use prohibition as a means of control. My example, paraphrased, was that if someone chooses to eat their soup out of a shoe rather than a bowl, that is bound to look strange to others. Some people might be so bothered by this practice that they call it immoral. Some may choose to try to legally prohibit the practice. The end result would be that people would be locked in cages for this action which neither hurt nor affected anyone else... i.e, a personal choice.

The only laws that should have the ability to take away the liberty of a person would be in response to an action which which violates the rights of others. Prohibition NEVER WORKS! But today, politicians in the establishment political parties use this tool to solidify their power. By doing this, both of the old parties claim that they stand for freedom, but they still want to criminalize personal choices which fly in the face of their moral compasses, but affect no one other than the person making that choice.

The 2016 election represents a unique opportunity. The people seem to be awakening from their reverie and they are yearning for a return to a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The key to this election is the potential impact towards Liberty. Liberty is the reason the United States of America was created. I encourage the people to be mindful of this, and to open their focus on the situation of today. I encourage the people to recognize their responsibility and work toward a rebirth of the plans and goals of the nation's framers.

Government has become much too large. Many of us feel that the nation has reached a breaking point... So what does a wise problem solver do when something is broken? They go back to basics.... With regard to the USA... “back to basics” is a reduction in government and bringing the constitution front and center. Stay focused America... Let's get back to basics.

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We Do Not Need More Troops in Iraq

In mid-July, the Obama administration quietly sent more troops to Iraq -- bringing the total to just over 4,600. This despite President Obama's campaign pledge to withdraw from Iraq with the last U.S. troops leaving in December 2011. Only to return in 2014. To paraphrase from Love Story, apparently leaving means never having to say good-bye.

The rationale for beefing up the U.S. military presence in Iraq is to help the Iraqis liberate Mosul from ISIS (or ISIL or Daesh or whatever you chose to call the group). But U.S. troops can't actually engage in combat against ISIS so it's not clear how they will make a difference. In fact, they are in Iraq as trainers and military advisers. But that's a slippery slope if Vietnam is of any relevance. Two words here: mission creep.

More importantly, while Mosul may be important strategically to the Iraqis it is not strategically important to U.S. national security. In other words, the fight for Mosul is not America's fight.

Indeed, ISIS is not an existential threat to the United States that requires committing the U.S. military to combat it. ISIS is largely a threat in Iraq and the region immediately surrounding it. The group’s overarching strategic goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Muslim world by waging a war within the Middle East. As such, it is up to the Iraqis and other countries in the region to confront ISIS.

Moreover, the more the U.S. intervenes in somebody else's civil war (ISIS is waging a war within Islam not against the U.S. or West writ large), the more likely it is that we become a target. Consider the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. An ISIS statement after the Paris attacks made clear that they were acts of revenge for France’s involvement in the U.S.-led coalition bombing of militants in Iraq and Syria. And it said Belgium was targeted as “a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State.” In other words, they were attacks in response to Western military intervention in Muslim countries.

More to the point: unnecessary military intervention because ISIS does not represent a direct threat to U.S. national security.
We need to remember the risk of unnecessary military intervention (or occupation). Why did Osama bin Laden make the U.S. target for al Qaeda terrorism? He couldn’t have been more clear: It was in response to the United States “occupying the lands of Islam” with 5,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia -- the holy land of Mecca and Medina -- after the first Gulf War. Just as those 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia were an unnecessary U.S. military intervention, so are the more than 4,600 U.S. troops now in Iraq. They will not make a material difference in the security situation in Iraq. But they will provide ISIS with a credible claim that the U.S. is waging a war against Islam, making it easier for the group to recruit and radicalize more Muslims to its cause and put America squarely in its crosshairs.


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Charles (Chuck) Peña is a Senior Fellow with Defense Priorities, but the views expressed are his own opinions. He has more than 25 years experience as a policy and program analyst, as well as senior manager, supporting the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. He is the former Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism.
Follow Chuck on Twitter at @gofastchuck

 

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The Impact of the Election on Liberty

flowidealismThe 2016 election provides an opportunity to fundamentally change the lenses through which Americans view political life and the future.

I am a former progressive who realized, after learning economics, that most "progressive" policies make the poor worse off rather than better off.  The regulatory state almost always favors the establishment rather than the marginalized.  Innovators are always penalized (consider the ways in which taxi companies attack Uber and Lyft, hotels attack Air BnB, Big alcohol lobbies against marijuana legalization).

After learning economics, I realized that equality of opportunity plus free markets was the approach that would provide the best hope for the marginalized.  I therefore went into education in hopes of taking constructive steps to improve equality of opportunity.  By 2002 I moved to New Mexico to create a charter school in rural New Mexico, in part because of the educational freedom supported by Governor Gary Johnson.  Despite being ranked the 36th best high school in the U.S., under the regime of Bill Richardson I was forced out for not having conventional educational credentials.

I then co-founded FLOW, a predecessor to Conscious Capitalism, with John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.  I invited Gary Johnson to the first meeting at John's ranch, but unfortunately he had just had a hang-gliding accident and couldn't come.  But our effort at FLOW was to promote liberty-friendly policies so that entrepreneurs could solve critical human problems.  Mackey had created Whole Foods, I had created several innovative schools, microfinance was becoming well-known, the social entrepreneur movement was becoming high profile.

At the time, journalism only recognized "right" and "left."  As someone who identified as "none of the above" I found it very difficult to open people's eyes to serious solutions.  Finally, in 2016, people are realizing that there is a reasonable "libertarian" direction that is entirely distinct from "right" and "left."  I'm hopeful that now that the American public can perceive a fresh new option, we can begin to move forward towards a better, more just world for all.

Michael Strong

Co-founder FLOWConscious Capitalism, and lead author of Be the Solution:  How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalism Can Solve All the World's Problems.

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Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Team

Trump Foreign PolicyWe already know what Hillary Clinton's foreign policy will likely be -- a combination of liberal interventionism with a healthy dose of neoconservatism. If you're a fan of Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight, it would seem that Clinton is likely to be the next president of the United States. But what if Donald Trump becomes our next commander-in-chief? What would his foreign policy look like?

Here is Trump's April foreign policy speech. Stephen Walt has written a scathing piece about Trump that demonstrates the GOP candidate's views are all over the map -- from what could be considered measured to reckless. Based on what Trump himself has said, his views run the gamut from realist (he's opposed to "dumb wars") to interventionist (including a seemingly willingness to use nuclear weapons) to isolationist (building a wall).

Whatever one thinks of Trump's views on foreign policy, an even bigger question is -- if elected -- who would be his foreign policy team? My former Cato Institute colleage, Chris Preble, has asked the same question.

This could be a very real problem for a would-be President Trump. This will not be like auditioning for The Apprentice. He will need to fill cabinet and other political appointee positions with people who share his views and know how the federal government works to implement policy.

That will be a tall order to fill.

 

UPDATE: Here's the latest on Trump's foreign policy.

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Charles (Chuck) Peña is a Senior Fellow with Defense Priorities, but the views expressed are his own opinions. He has more than 25 years experience as a policy and program analyst, as well as senior manager, supporting the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. He is the former Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute and author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism.

Follow Chuck on Twitter at @gofastchuck

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Trump Is Right That the Election Is Rigged, Only Not Why He Thinks. It’s From a Lack of #FairDebates.

Fair DebatesEarly in August Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shocked (yet again) the world by blaming a “rigged” election in case he loses this November, giving as an example (without specifics) the rigging of the primary against him. Trump is right that the election is rigged, just not in the method he thinks (if he even has no method in mind). What comprises the election rigging stems from the control of his own party along with the Democrat Party of his opponent, Secretary and Senator Hillary Clinton, on the debates without participation in which effectively dooms any competition for the support of voters.

Since 1988 the two major parties have signed agreements to refuse participation in any debates outside the Commission on Presidential Debates which they created, and use polling criteria nearly impossible to reach to protect their duopoly from competition for control of America’s government. The polling the Commission would use, further, wouldn’t be required to practice fairly with third parties. Pollsters can, for example, exclude the names of third parties that represent, according to still other polls, majority opinion. Polling companies also can order questions to bias down the results of third parties. The duopoly rigs the election to keep out a threat to their lock on government power, to the detriment of citizens’ rights and economic opportunities. It should be noted that prior to 1988, debates were controlled by the League of Women Voters, who left the new duopoly Commission, refusing to participate in a fraud perpetrated on the American people”.

The duopoly’s limit on debate choices led Our America Initiative to create a petition calling on the Commission to allow third party candidates that demonstrated viability by qualifying on enough state ballots theoretically to win fifty percent of the Electoral Votes. We filed also a lawsuit just dismissed to effect the same result. Our attorney, former Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein, criticized the Judge’s dismissal as full of factual errors, and would consult with OAI for a next step. We urge all OAI supporters to sign the petition for #FairDebates. With eight thousand signers including a thousand this year, let’s try to get another 1,000 by November!

In addition to signing OAI’s petition for #FairDebates, we urge supporters’ submitting to your local newspaper a letter to the editor, using the sample at the link as the base text. Stay tuned for future events to raise awareness of the lack of #FairDebtates which constitutes a fraud on the American people and rigged elections.

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Hillary’s energy policies: enriching Wall Street cronies, while the poor are pawns in their political game

Fistful of greenbacksIn his less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the Democrat’s choice for President, Sen. Bernie Sanders decried "Greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior" and declared that we couldn’t let "billionaires buy elections." Perhaps his opposition research team discovered what we have about Clinton’s connections with the very entities he despises: Wall Street—which he’s accused of "gambling trillions in risky financial instruments;" and "huge financial institutions" that he says: "simply have too much economic and political power over this country."

Wall Street and its "huge financial institutions" are Clinton allies—supporting both her campaign and donating big bucks to the Clinton Foundation.

In the batch of Democrat National Committee (DNC) emails WikiLeaks made public on July 23, DNC Research Associate Jeremy Berns tells his colleagues: "She [Clinton] doesn't want the people knowing about her relationships on Wall Street." He adds: "She wants to achieve consistency and the best way to do that is to keep the people ignorant."

For the past four years, I’ve collaborated with citizen activist/researcher Christine Lakatos (she’s been at it for six years) on what we’ve called: President Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. Together we’ve produced the single largest body of work on the topic. In her blog, the Green Corruption Files, she posts her exhaustive research—what I affectionately refer to as the drink-from-the-fire-hydrant version. I, then, use her research to draft an overview that is appropriate for the casual reader.

More recently, our efforts have morphed to include the Democrats’ presidential nominee, as Lakatos found the same people are Hillary's "wealthy cronies," too.

In Lakatos’ most-recent, and final, Green Corruption File, released on July 19, she states: "While there are numerous ways you can 'buy access to the Clintons,' I’m only going to connect the dots to the Green Gangsters, which we’ve already established are rich political pals of President Obama, as well as other high-ranking Democrats and their allies, who were awarded hundreds of billions of 'green' taxpayer cash."

Her lengthy report, is "devoted to proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the Democrat presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is not on only in bed with Big Money (Wall Street, the Uber-Richspecial interests groups and lobbyists) and Dark Money (Super PACS and Secret Cash), she’s also bankrolled and is in cahoots with––directly and through her husband and her family foundation––the wealthy Green Gangsters, who are robbing U.S. taxpayers in order to 'save the planet.'"

While the dozens of pages prove the involvement of names you know—like former vice president Al Gore, former Governor Bill Richardson, and billionaire donors Tom Steyer and Warren Buffett, and names you likely don’t know: David Crane, John Doerr, Pat Stryker, and Steve Westly—I’ve chosen to highlight the Clinton’s Wall Street connections that have benefited from the green deals that were cut in the Obama White House and that will continue on if Clinton wins.

Lakatos points out: "Clinton’s 'ambitious renewable energy plans' move far beyond Obama’s green mission that has been rife with crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and corruption." Along with more climate rules, she "wants an open tab for green energy." Remember the DNC’s official platform includes: "the goal of producing 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050" and "a call for the Justice Department to investigate fossil fuel companies for misleading the public on climate change."

Three Wall Street names of my limited-word-count focus are Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America. Each is a top-contributing Clinton campaign supporter and a Clinton Foundation donor. They have benefited from the hundreds of billions in taxpayers dollars given out for green energy projects through the Obama Administration. All three have expectations that Clinton will continue the green programs put in place by the Obama administration.

Goldman Sachs—donated between $1 million to $5 million and the Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund has contributed between $250,000 to $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation

As Lakatos pointed out in previous reports, Goldman Sachs is connected, via various roles, to at least 14 companies and/or projects that won green taxpayer cash––a tab that exceeded $8.5 billion. One specific example: Goldman is credited as the "exclusive financial adviser" for the now bankrupt Solyndra ($570.4 million loss). Then there is now-bankrupt SunEdison—an early Goldman Sachs investment. SunEdison received $1.5 billion in federal and state subsidies. And, in 2010, Goldman Sachs handled the IPO of government winner, Tesla Motors that was awarded $465 million from the Department Of Energy (DOE) ATVM program—they got much more if you factor in the state and local subsides: $2,406,805,253 to be exact. Also, according to Goldman, "In May 2013, [they] helped raise over $1 billion in new financing for Tesla Motors."

Citigroup/Citi Foundation—donated between $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation

This big bank is connected to approximately $16 billion of taxpayer money. Lakatos, in 2013, reported that Citi was actively involved in securing the 1703/1705 DOE loans; was a direct investor; and/or served as an underwriter for the initial public offering (IPO) of at least 16 of Citi’s clients that received some form of government subsidies. One green company where Citi is a major investor is SolarCity, which has been subsidized through various stimulus funds, grants and federal tax breaks at the tune equaling almost $1.5 billion. (Billionaire Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla and Chairman at SolarCity. He’s a Clinton Foundation donor ($25 million to $50 million) and Hillary supporter, too.)

Bank of America/Bank of America Foundation—donated between $500,000 to $1 million to the Clinton Foundation

Bank of America, amongst other green efforts, participated in Project Amp—a four-year, $2.6 billion project to place solar panels on rooftops in 28 states. At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported: "Bank of America Merrill Lynch unit will provide $1.4 billion in loans for the project," of which "the financing is part of Bank of America’s plan to put $20 billion of capital to work in renewable energy, conservation and other clean technologies that address climate change." In the final days of the DOE loan program (September 2011), the DOE awarded a partial guarantee of $1.4 billion loan to Project Amp. According to a press release, Bank of America increased its second environmental business initiative from $50 billion to $125 billion in low-carbon business by 2025 through lending, investing, capital raising, advisory services and developing financing solutions for clients around the world.

It’s important to remember that climate change—which is the foundation of the green agenda—is part of the Clinton Foundation’s mission statement: "In communities across the globe, our programs are proving that we can confront the debilitating effects of climate change in a way that makes sense for governments, businesses, and economies." Additionally, the Foundation’s coffers were enriched when Clinton and her State Department staff solicited contributions from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, as we detailed in our coverage of her clean cookstove campaign.

In addition to Clinton’s obvious Wall Street connections, one of the many startling realizations that can be gleaned from the report on Hillary’s Horrendous Hypocrisy, is the fact that these companies—some of which would not be in existence without the grants and tax credits—that received millions in taxpayer dollars, took our money and gave it to the Clinton Foundation and to the Clinton Campaign. As was the case with Clinton Foundation donor/campaign fundraiser George Kaiser, these billionaires are making lucrative profits, at taxpayer expense, from bankrupted green companies like Solyndra.

In short, we, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the well-connected millionaires and billionaires—and Hillary Clinton is part of all of it. Meanwhile, she admonishes the average American to combat climate change by driving less and reducing our personal use of electricity.

Bernie Sanders was right to be alarmed. Huge financial institutions do have too much political power. Wall Street billionaires are trying to buy Clinton the White House. In return, she’ll be sure their green energy investments pay off for them by demanding that America go green.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

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Brazil's Corrupt Marxists Head for Dustbin of History

Image result for brazil corruptionFormer Marxist Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was arrested for questioning in an anti-corruption probe called "Lava Jato", or "Car Wash". Although Da Silva contends allegations that he and current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff took kickbacks from oil companies while president are politically motivated to block him from running for president again in 2018, it appears that da Lula will be indicted and his fellow traveler Rousseff will be impeached.

Federal police acted on at least 33 search warrants and arrested 11 people across the nation over widespread allegations of corruption and money laundering linked to Petrobras state-owned energy giant, according to Stratfor Global Intelligence. 

The arrest of da Silva followed Rousseff's firing of the nation's Minister of Justice Jose Eduardo Cardoso, who headed up the corruption investigation. The President alleged that Cardoso had lost control of the investigation, but the real issue is that Cardoso has sufficient evidence of corruption to start prosecutions.

Arresting da Silva would seem to indicate the federal police and prosecutors are determined to bring charges. Coupled with nationwide Pro-impeachment protests scheduled for March 13, the end seems near for Brazil's 13 year experiment with the Marxism. 

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Libertarian Showdown: Will Apple Stop iPhone Backdoor Cancer?

Apple Inc. (AAPL:NASDAQ) is currently in a war with the FBI and public opinion. The company claims the FBI wants Apple to build a special version of iOS that would weaken the device’s security and install it on the device.

CEO Tim Cook has cast himself as a Libertarian warrior on the side of justice, but he or another Apple executive could end up with a contempt order from a federal judge on Feb. 26 and end up spending a few days behind bars.

Apple probably has achieved a marginal win with members of the tech community that believe his fighting the FBI and the Justice Department’s efforts to force the Apple to write an app to unlock the mobile device of a known murderous terrorist’s iPhone is a sign of Cook’s respect for their privacy.

But the reputation of Apple’s brand may suffer a loss with consumers, since a Pew poll indicates that the majority of Americans and a plurality of every single age demographic in the U.S. believe Apple should follow a federal court order to assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone.

The legal case pits issues of national security against Constitutional rights of privacy. The standoff with the FBI brings to a boil the simmering battle between law enforcement and Silicon Valley over encryption technology that can permanently scramble data to prevent unauthorized readers from seeing it.

The Justice Department's Feb. 19 Motion to Compel argued that their court order would not create a “backdoor” that could contribute to a general decrypting of any of Apple’s phones or serve as a carte blanche for government to compromise the security of personal information.

But in an interview, Cook told ABC’s David Muir that his fear is that enabling backdoor access to the iPhone, which he described as “the software equivalent of cancer,” sets a dangerous precedent that would risk both the “privacy” and “public safety” of over 700 million iPhone uses in 130 nations around the globe.

Cook highlighted that Apple clearly stated outlined their opposition to the court order in a letter to customers and an internal note to staff released to the general public.

FBI Director James Comey in Congressional Intelligence Committee testimony responded to Apple’s public relations campaign by stating:

“The Order requires Apple to assist the FBI with respect to this single iPhone used by Farook by providing the FBI with the opportunity to determine the passcode. The Order does not, as Apple’s public statement alleges, require Apple to create or provide a “back door” to every iPhone; it does not provide “hackers and criminals” access to iPhones; it does not require Apple to “hack [its] own users” or to its own phones.”

But Comey did concede for the first time that future judges will look to the FBI’s battle with Apple as a precedent for law enforcement access to locked or encrypted mobile devices. James Comey commented on Feb. 18 that the outcome of his battle with Apple will “guide how other courts handle similar requests.” But the FBI Director three days later tried to tone that the court decision will “set a precedent”.

In a last ditch effort, Apple filed a 35-page brief on Feb. 25 titled, “Motion to Vacate the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search, and Opposition to the Government’s Motion to Compel Assistance.” Apple argued the government’s reliance on the “All Writs Act,” that traces its roots to the Judiciary Act of 1789, cannot serve as a basis to “conscript” Apple to make an app to enable the government to hack its phones.

The ‘ars technical blog’ broke a story that in November 2014, the Oakland Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office used the All Writs Act to try to leverage Apple Inc. into writing an app to extract data from a locked iPhone 5C, as part of a criminal case.

In that case, Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore ordered that Apple to “provide reasonable technical assistance to enable law enforcement agents to obtain access to unencrypted data,” but she did not specifically mention the All Writs Act as a precedent.

But she did add, “It is further ordered that, to the extent that data on the iOS device is encrypted, Apple may provide a copy of the encrypted data to law enforcement but Apple is not required to attempt to decrypt, or otherwise enable law enforcement’s attempts to access any encrypted data.”

The desired iOS app would allow the FBI to “brute force” by trying millions times to crack the device’s pin code without delay or the device erasing itself to open the iPhone memory. A federal court has been given a Feb. 26 deadline for Apple to comply with its order. Although Tim Cook’s outspokenness could get him sent to the slammer, most legal experts believe if Apple losses the Motion to Compel, they will be allowed to appeal.

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Google Gets Their Evil Tax Rate Down to 2.4%

Image result for google do no evilGoogle’s motto is “Do no evil.” Maybe that explains why the multi-national behemoth used sophisticated schemes to cut the evil tax rates they pay down to 2.4 percent.

Reuters just reported that Google, Inc. (NYSE: GOOGL) used a complicated game of spiriting cash around the world from 2012 to 2014 to cut the tax rate paid on $13 billion in profits to 2.4 percent, rather than the 39.6 percent U.S. tax rate and 22.6 percent European Union tax rate. The move saved Google $2.9 to $4.8 billion in taxes.

Known in the devious world of tax shelters as a “Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich,” Google moved all its U.S. and other patents into a shell company in Ireland, where foreign royalty payments are taxed at about 3 percent. Google then had its subsidiaries from around the world pay massive royalty payments to the Irish shell to shelter profits.

But in an effort to make sure it didn’t have to pay an evil 3 percent tax rate, Google then flew the cash to the company’s Dutch subsidiary, Google Netherlands Holdings BV. From there it was whisked to Google Ireland Holdings in Bermuda, further washing away more tax liability down to 2.4 percent.

In response to a Forbes request for comment on the fairness of the scheme, a Google spokesperson asserted in an email response: “Google complies with the tax laws in every country where we operate.”

None of this multi-national corporate tax scam is a secret to the Obama Administration that jacked-up the U.S. corporate tax rate to 39.6 percent in their first term to supposedly fight income inequality.

But in response to numerous articles by Breitbart News on income inequality becoming much worse under the Obama Administration, the White House stated:

The best available data on incomes refute the baseless claim recently made by some that income inequality is worse under President Obama than it was under President George W. Bush. More fundamentally, whereas the previous Administration’s policies were tilted towards the wealthiest Americans, President Obama has been focused on the middle class and those working to get into the middle class.

It is fair to say that Google spending $51,230,000 from 2012 to 2014 to become the second largest investor in Washington DC lobbyists might have had something to do with the company wanting to get into a middle class tax bracket.

 

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74th Anniversary of The End of the British Empire

The British Empire began its collapse 74 years ago this week with the surrender to the Japanese of Singapore, a fortress Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to as the “Gibraltar of the East.”

Eight days earlier on February 8, 1942, Allied engineers rocked the island city when they blew a huge hole the causeway linking Singapore to the Malay Peninsula, in an effort to slow the advance of Imperial Japanese Imperial troops coming down the coastline. As the echo of the blast rumbled throughout the city, 19-year-old university student and future prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was walking across campus. When his British headmaster came passing by and asked what the commotion was, Lee answered, “That is the end of the British Empire.”

The defeat was crushing to the British homeland, because Winston Churchill had claimed that Singapore was an impregnable fortress that guarded the heart and wealth of the British Empire. Japan success symbolized to Asians the European powers were decrepit and became the launch code for liberation movements throughout the region.

Although outnumbered by almost 4 to 1 was by Allied troops in Malaya and Singapore, the Japanese were superior in close air support, armor, coordination, tactics and experience. Despite conventional British military thinking that the Malayan jungles were “impassable”, the Japanese repeatedly crossed jungles to outflank the British defenses.

The 85,000 British, Indian and Australian troops lasted for just 7 days against an invading force of 36,000 Japanese. When the British had suffered 5,000 killed to the Japanese 1,714 deaths.

After their surrender, 30,000 Indian troops defected to the Japanese and only 6,000 of the other 50,000 Singapore defenders would survive the WWII. Churchill called the debacle the “worst disaster” and “largest capitulation” in British military history.

The year of the defeat was monumental, because the British Imperial dominance of Asia was cemented a century in the 1842 during the First Opium War with the defeat of 200,000 Chinese Imperial troops by a combined United Kingdom and British East India Company force of 19,000. The Chinese suffered about 20,000 deaths to the British losses of 69 dead.

 

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